Kenyan farmers embrace sorghum as a multi-use crop to cope with climate change

In Makueni, a county in Kenya, researchers in the Sorghum for Multiple Uses (SMU) project are working to improve production, profitability and utilization of sorghum. This intervention is important given that the maize crop in this area has failed due to unreliable rainfall, changing weather patterns and maize diseases. “The quantity and frequency of rains is not enough to sustain growth of a maize crop to maturity in Makueni county,” says Mr Nehemiah Mburu, a researcher from Africa Harvest which…

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Kenyan farmers urged to adopt climate-smart food production strategies

Various crop production technologies to meet climate change challenges were demonstrated to 200 farmers and several to agricultural officers at a recently held fair to celebrate World Food Day. A message from Dr José Graziano da Silva, Director General FAO, urged farmers to change their food production strategies in view of extreme weather events due to changing climate. The message was read out by Ms Philigona A Ooko, Minister for Agriculture, Siaya County Government, Kenya. The view was reiterated by…

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Upscaling drought-tolerant and early-maturing pearl millet hybrids in western Rajasthan, India

Utilizing the recently-generated genome sequence information in pearl millet to address crop productivity challenges; developing hybrids suitable for regions with less than 400 mm of rainfall per annum and for improving the shelf life of flour, were discussed by scientists from Swami Keshwanand Rajasthan Agricultural University (SKRAU), Bikaner and ICRISAT. In view of the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, recently approving a project to upscale hybrid technology in western Rajasthan, Dr Govind Singh, Director Research, RAU, Bikaner, suggested that…

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Closing the gender gap in barley farming boosts production and incomes in Ethiopia - See more at:

When women farmers lead the way

Aselefech Telila is a farmer and enjoys her role as the head of a smallholder women farmers’ association in Welmera district in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. But her job was tough. The farmers in the community grow barley but barely produced enough to meet their own household needs. The local variety of barley seed gave poor yields and were susceptible to diseases. Livelihood was a struggle and families were resorting to selling their cattle to sustain themselves. Life began…

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Consumer demand for sorghum and millets in ESA: Priorities for Dryland Cereals

Authors: Gierend A and Orr A   Summary The report summarizes current information on consumer demand for sorghum and millets in ESA, with particular reference to Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia. The analysis is based primarily on data from nationally representative household expenditure surveys for these four countries conducted between 2005 and 2012. The original data was obtained and re-analysed to determine the drivers of consumer demand for sorghum and millets. Results showed that the consumption estimates from these surveys…

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Finger millet formalized as a mandate crop in ICRISAT’s research portfolio

Finger millet, which figured among the six small millets in ICRISAT’s research portfolio, has now been formally made a mandate crop. This decision was taken at the recent Governing Board meeting of ICRISAT. This is an important recognition for a crop which has been an integral part of the ICRISAT’s research portfolio and focus crop of CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals. The high nutritive value of finger millet coupled with its ability to thrive under low rainfall and poor…

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Millets and sorghum play a crucial role in interlinking agriculture, dairy and fisheries sectors

The role of millets and sorghum in providing quality feed and minimizing input costs in dairy, poultry and fisheries sectors was emphasized at a workshop conducted for farmers of Andhra Pradesh, India. Given that for dairy farming, feed cost constitutes 70% of milk production cost, reduction of feed cost is vital and a localized fodder solution was sought by farmers who attended the meet. Interacting with farmers, Mr SP Tucker, Special Chief Secretary, Planning Department, and Agricultural Production Commissioner, Government…

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Technology-aided field design to enhance efficacy of experiments

To improve the efficacy of experiments, various aspects of efficient experimental field design, analysis and data management with the aid of modern statistical software was the focus of a five-day training course that was specially designed for National Agricultural Research System (NARS) partners in Nigeria. Topics covered included generation and analysis of replicated and non-replicated trials, data cleaning, curation, single site and genotype-environment interaction (GxE) analysis and interpretation. Participants were trained to use GenStat 17th edition and introduced to Breeding…

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Exploring new products and global markets for sorghum

Specific products and markets were identified to capitalize on the domestic and international demand for sorghum and processed sorghum products. This included product-specific cultivars; products with good demand; and major export markets in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and SAARC countries. The need for developing product-specific cultivars was highlighted by Dr A Ashok Kumar, Senior Scientist, Sorghum Breeding, ICRISAT. He cited examples of cultivars developed by Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Rahuri – Phule Panchami for popping, Phule Uttara for papads (wafers) and…

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Finger millet and sorghum improving productivity and promoting agri-business in western Kenya

Food on the Table, Money in the Pocket was the clarion call given by Mr Moses Osia, County Executive on Agriculture, Busia County in western Kenya. Along with participatory varietal selection and improved agronomic practices, value-added processed products from finger millet and sorghum were showcased in a series of field days. Mr Osia highlighted progress made by the Busia county government in the agricultural sector including provision of subsidized tractor services, seeds and fertilizer. He further added that the County…

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The CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals (Dryland Cereals) is a partnership between two members of the CGIAR Consortium – ICRISAT (lead center), and ICARDA, along with a number of public and private institutes and organizations, governments, and farmers globally.
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